Reflection: Passion in Action

By Noa Dahan

Right now,  I am trying to figure out what the heck to do with my life. This is a big question for any college student, but it is one that blindsided me. In high school, I always knew what I wanted to do: Dance. I trained for it, I worked for it, and I did all I could to make my way to a great dance program. In high school, I was always the girl that knew exactly what she wanted.

Now in college, knowing that I want to be in the dance world is not enough. I need to know what I want to do, and I need to know ASAP. I have never before experienced being the one without a specific vision for the future. I hate not knowing; it terrifies me.

Artists are generally  obsessed with following their passions. For better or for worse, we make choices out of love, not logic. To me, the only vision for a happy future is waking up every morning and being blown away with the work I get to do. To be invested in my work, I need to feel this kind of energy for it.

Throughout the San Francisco trip, I was lucky enough to meet people that are completely enamored with their work. Meeting them put me at ease about my fears for my future. Hearing person after person talk about the work they do with such genuine excitement made me feel more secure that maybe I too can feel that way about my work one day. It reminded me that for some people, living out a passion is their reality, and that it’s possible to actually achieve that goal.

Here are some examples from my trip:

Del spouted information about user safety on Twitter like a firehose on full blast. While at times I struggled to keep up, I recognized the excitement of being able to share something she cherishes and views as important with others. I could talk about dance forever, and Del seemed to share this sentiment in regard to her own field.

Christopher at Clarion Alley spoke a lot about the artists that created the murals in the alley. As an artist, I know that being able to appreciate other creators is one of the best parts of being involved in the fine arts.  I particularly appreciated that he mentioned references to deceased artists in the murals. It reminded me that art can have a lasting impression on others. I was also inspired by the fact that Christopher didn’t seek to become an artist. Art found him, and now it is a huge part of his identity.

Audrey commanded the head of the table at the San Francisco Chronicle editor’s meeting. She spoke concisely and with precision, made quick and in-the-moment decisions with confidence, and made her editors think more pointedly about how their stories would work in print and online, and for the readership. Audrey showed her passion in her confidence and competence.

J at Autodesk was a highlight. I would normally say the work I do could not be further from using heavy machinery to make stuff, but J was passionate about making new things, no matter how impractical. I am completely on board with making cool stuff. J’s passion for this  was right in league with my passion for seeing what the body can do. This love for innovation reminded me of myself, and gave me hope that I might find such excitement from my work.

Meeting passionate people made me excited to return to my craft. I left the trip reenergized and ready to work. I hope that in moments of doubt and worry, I can look back on this trip and remember that some people really do get to live their passions.





  1. Noa! I loved getting to hear you talk about dance on our trip, and I loved getting to read your writing about dance. Your passion is obvious – in the same way that the people we met on our trip inspired you, your passion refreshes me. I love seeing people excited about their craft! The one suggestion for improvement that I would make is that you explain the following sentence a little more: “Now in college, knowing that I want to be in the dance world is not enough. I need to know what I want to do, and I need to know ASAP.” You say that you want to be in the world of dance, but then say that you still need to know what you want to do. Do you mean that you need to know specifically within the world of dance what you want to do?


  2. This is a great piece! I loved the examples from every part of the trip that really stuck out to you and the detailed descriptions of each of our speakers. I wish it could have been a little more concise, but it really packed a punch and I enjoyed everything I read! Was there a point in the trip where you found yourself wondering why someone had the passion that they did or was it always made clear to you just by the way they spoke? Were any of the people we encountered on the trip NOT passionate about their work, and how could you tell if so?? Awesome job Noa!!


  3. Noa, I am so glad you incorporated dance into a piece! The pose with the bridge in the background is beautiful. I agree– what do I want to do with my life? That seems to be the million dollar question lately. I would like to know how going forward, you are going to find new things to be interested in and passionate about. The examples were great, though!


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